By Dr. Sarah Myhill MB BS, British physician specializing in chronic fatigue and environmental medicine - Based on an article in BMJ


Nutritional deficiencies - What signs to look for if you think you have them.

Here are some of them:



Cold hands - magnesium deficiency, hypothyroidism, chronic fatigue with low heart rate


White spots - mineral deficiency but often low zinc content

Ridges - zinc deficiency



Soft or brittle nails - magnesium deficiency

Nail biting - general mineral deficiency


Stretch marks - zinc deficiency

Follicular hyperkeratosis - vitamin A deficiency

Spontaneous bleeding - vitamin C or K or platelet deficiency

Dry, flaky skin with hair follicles clogged with coiled deformed hairs and a red halo - vitamin C deficiency

Yellow palms - excessive intake of beta-carotene

Rough pimply skin on the back of the arms "chicken skin" - essential fatty acid deficiency


Pale cracked tongue - iron deficiency

Cracked and painful tongue - vitamin B3 deficiency

Burning tongue and scaling lips - vitamin B2 deficiency

Swollen tongue with lateral indentations of the teeth - food intolerance

Sore tongue with a smooth appearance - folic acid deficiency

Chapped lips - vitamin B2 deficiency, thrush


Pyorrhea - Co-Q10 deficiency

Bleeding gums - vitamin C deficiency

Gum disease - Co-Q10, folic acid, vitamin C deficiency



Oily red scaly skin on the face and sides of the nose - vitamin B2 deficiency

Seborrheic dermatitis around the nose and acne-like rash - vitamin B6 deficiency


Cataracts - chromium deficiency or excess free radicals

Puffiness or dark circles under the eyes - food allergies or intolerances

Blue eyes and blond hair are often found in hyperactive male children - zinc, magnesium, B6 and essential fatty acid deficiencies

Blue eyes and premature gray hair - vitamin B12 deficiency - a characteristic of pernicious anemia


Thyroid swelling - iodine deficiency, hypothyroidism


Any heart problem including irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, cardiomegaly - magnesium and Co-Q10 deficiencies and caffeine sensitivity.



Tender calf muscles - magnesium deficiency

Sharp knee reflexes - magnesium deficiency

The following problems may suggest specific deficiencies or allergies:

Nasal polyps - sensitivity to salicylates

Catarrh, sinusitis, history of tonsil or adenoid removal - milk intolerance
Poor wound healing - zinc deficiency

Can't remember dreams - vitamin B6 deficiency

Sugar cravings, blood sugar fluctuations, hypoglycemia - chromium deficiency, carbohydrate intolerance and intestinal fermentation syndrome

Premenstrual syndrome - magnesium, zinc and essential fatty acid deficiencies

Glandular fever - inadequate liver detoxification mechanisms

Sensory symptoms - B12, B1, magnesium deficiencies

Mental symptoms - any B vitamin deficiency, Allergies, toxic stress.

Cervical Dysplasia - vitamin B6 and folic acid deficiency

Arthritis - boron and sulfur (MSM) deficiency

Measles - vitamin A deficiency

Persistent diarrhea leading to fatigue - magnesium and potassium deficiencies

Many diuretics cause magnesium and potassium deficiencies

Muscle cramps - magnesium deficiency

Shaking hands - magnesium and vitamin B1 deficiency

Hypertension - magnesium deficiency

Dysphagia - magnesium deficiency

Sensitivity to light - magnesium deficiency

Osteoporosis - don't forget about magnesium

High blood pressure during pregnancy - magnesium deficiency

Hair loss - thyroid, iron stores (must measure serum ferritin), biotin, zinc and essential fatty acid deficiencies

Frequent colds - zinc and vitamin C deficiencies

Infertility, miscarriage and premature delivery - zinc deficiency

Poor sense of smell and taste - zinc deficiency

Poor vision or night blindness - zinc and vitamin A deficiency

Dry eyes - vitamin A deficiency

Birth control pills and HRT can cause increased copper levels and deficiencies in zinc, magnesium and vitamin B6

Stuffy nose with red wine - molybdenum deficiency

Any cancer or family history of cancer - selenium deficiency

Mercury amalgams in the teeth - selenium and glutathione deficiency

Cardiomyopathies (Keeshan's disease) - selenium deficiency

Heart attacks - vitamin E deficiency (Shute brothers)

Hair loss, dandruff, eczema, excessive earwax production, poor wound healing, excessive thirst (especially in hyperactive children), premenstrual symptoms of all kinds - essential fatty acid deficiency

Carpal tunnel syndrome - vitamin B6 deficiency

Vegan - vitamin B12, zinc and iron deficiencies

Gastrectomy - vitamin B12 and hydrochloric acid deficiency

Diabetic peripheral neuropathy - vitamin B12 deficiency

Elderly - any weakness, especially vitamin B and HCI deficiencies

Persistent infections - vitamin C and zinc deficiencies